Special Report: Walkable Streets

No More Queen Street Carnage

Any politician who continues to defend and excuse this city's insane legacy of deadly cars-first-and-cars-only road infrastructure against all evidence to the contrary has the blood of these preventable pedestrian injuries and deaths on their hands.

By Ryan McGreal
Published March 28, 2014

Queen Street South has been the site of two separate vehicle collisions with pedestrians in the past month.

Police block Herkimer at Queen on March 7 (Image Credit: Andrew Spearin)
Police block Herkimer at Queen on March 7 (Image Credit: Andrew Spearin)

On March 7 at 6:00 PM, a driver going south on Queen Street turned left (eastbound) onto Herkimer Street and struck a young man who was trying to cross. He was taken to hospital with serious head injuries.

On March 26 at 10:05 AM, a driver going east on Main Street struck a 39-year-old woman who was crossing Main at Queen Street in the crosswalk. She was taken to hospital with serious injuries. The driver has been charged with careless operation of a motor vehicle.

Debacle of Urban Design

The intersection of Queen and Main is a debacle of urban design. The one-way Main Street juggernaut expands to almost five-and-a-half lanes wide as it comes up to Queen, with a painted wedge to delineate the right turn lane from Main eastbound onto Queen southbound and a rounded corner allowing fast turns. Sidewalks are narrow and the traffic sequence does not leave a lot of time to cross.

Main and Queen, Google Maps view
Main and Queen, Google Maps view

Queen, in turn, is three wide lanes, all one-way southbound until Herkimer, where it switches to two-way and connects to the Beckett Drive mountain access. Both both streets encourage dangerously high vehicle speeds and scarcely bother to provide room for pedestrians, who are stuck on narrow sidewalks right next to the speeding traffic.

The intersection of Queen Street and Herkimer Street is another epic fustercluck. Herkimer is one-way eastbound but the road west of Queen is several metres north of the road east of Queen. As a result, cars going east on Herkimer across Queen need to make a large S-shaped manoeuvre to do so.

Queen Steet is one-way southbound north of Herkimer, and the east southbound curb lane is designed as a highway-style on-ramp turning east onto Herkimer. Queen is two-way south of Herkimer but the two northbound lanes merge into one, which is also designed as a highway-style on-ramp turning east onto Herkimer.

Queen Street looking north from Herkimer (RTH file photo)
Queen Street looking north from Herkimer (RTH file photo)

Between the two is a wedge of raised curb which one traffic engineer, with a straight face, once told me acts as a "pedestrian refuge" - because apparently pedestrians are effectively refugees.

There is no marked crosswalk anywhere: not on the west side of Queen crossing Herkimer (although there is at least a stop sign and a white stop line), not on the east side of Queen crossing the two on-ramps that merge onto Herkimer, and not anywhere across Queen itself.

But the insane highway-style design doesn't end at Herkimer. Vehicles going south on Queen can turn right (westbound) onto Aberdeen Avenue via yet another highway-style on-ramp, and traffic flows at dangerous speeds.

Highway-style on-ramp at Aberdeen and Queen (RTH file photo)
Highway-style on-ramp at Aberdeen and Queen (RTH file photo)

There's a bus stop and shelter on the triangular island left by the on-ramp, and any pedestrian who wants to cross Aberdeen needs to cross both the on-ramp (where drivers almost never yield) and Aberdeen itself.

Queen Study Group

Last year, a group of residents undertook a walking audit of Queen Street as part of a One-Way-to-Two-Way Study Group focusing on Queen and Cannon Streets. (I was one of the participants.)

The results of that audit are forthcoming, but there is no question that Queen Street should be a calm, safe two-way street with curbside parking on one side. Queen is one of the least essential one-ways in the city, with significant excess lane capacity.

Smooth flowing traffic on Queen at Hunter with only one lane open (RTH file photo)
Smooth flowing traffic on Queen at Hunter with only one lane open (RTH file photo)

At Charlton, Queen carries just 12,200 cars a day. (For contrast, Beckett Drive is one lane in each direction and carries 21,000 cars a day.) When Queen was reduced to just one lane at Hunter this winter, traffic continued to flow smoothly throughout the day.

Earlier this year, Jason Leach pointed to the recent redevelopment of Lansdowne Avenue as an excellent model for what we could do to Queen to make it more humane and balanced. Lansdowne was reduced to one lane in each direction with curbside parking and bumpouts - and this was a street that carried a lot more cars than Queen.

Lansdowne Avenue, Toronto (Image Credit: Joe at Biking Toronto/Flickr)
Lansdowne Avenue, Toronto (Image Credit: Joe at Biking Toronto/Flickr)

Enough is Enough

Enough with the dangerous highway designs in the middle of residential urban neighbourhoods that encourage dangerously fast vehicle speeds. Enough of the "Ride of the Valkyries" where clusters of timed fast-moving automobile traffic roar past people's homes and lives. Enough smashed bones. Enough head trauma. Enough carnage.

Hamilton has the second-worst rate of injuries and deaths from automobile collisions with pedestrians in the province. We're 43 percent more dangerous for pedestrians than the provincial average. Cycling is even worse: Hamilton is fully 81 percent more dangerous for cyclists than the provincial average.

Any politician who continues to defend and excuse this city's insane legacy of deadly cars-first-and-cars-only road infrastructure against all evidence to the contrary has the blood of these preventable pedestrian injuries and deaths on their hands.

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan writes a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. He also maintains a personal website and has been known to post passing thoughts on Twitter @RyanMcGreal. Recently, he took the plunge and finally joined Facebook.

79 Comments

View Comments: Nested | Flat

Read Comments

[ - ]

By mikeonthemountain (registered) | Posted March 28, 2014 at 12:49:08

Having witnessed several close calls with elderly pedestrians having trouble, having witnessed the Wentworth/Charlton fatality, this article took the words right out of my mouth.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By PearlStreet (registered) | Posted March 28, 2014 at 13:01:41

I agree with this totally. Chaos to be made worse when more population moves into condos built nearby! Next stop, slow down Victoria Ave too!

Permalink | Context

By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted March 28, 2014 at 15:03:44 in reply to Comment 99311

My crazy scheme for Victoria/Wellington:

1) Continue the "1-way complete street" approach we see on the far-north-end of Victoria through the street and copy it over to Wellington, too. Double-wide-bike-lane on the right, permanent parking on the left, 2 lanes of 1-way live traffic. Drop the permanent parking if there's any place where volumes actually justify 3 lanes of live traffic (I doubt it).

2) Convert the downward side of the Clairmont access into a pedestrian/bike-way. It would be the most stupidly humongous bike/pedestrian path ever built... but unlike the Cannon street bikeway, this is wide-enough to accommodate the existing plow infrastructure, and the Clairmont is so low-use it wouldn't even ruin the traffic - zero added-cost for ploughing, but we've just got rid of the auto/truck wear-and-tear from the downward-side. The formerly-upward-side can be 2-3 lanes upwards, 1 lane downwards. It's just new paint and signs, you don't even need to move the barriers and lights.

Something funny might have to happen with the Clairmont/Sherman ramp.

3) Create a proper signalized intersection at Hunter and Victoria to accommodate the down-bound Clairmont traffic provide a terminus for the pedestrian/cyclist lane, etc. Similar at Clairmont and Inverness. This is basically the only expensive part, because you'd have to completely rebuild the Hunter/Victoria intersection to get the downbound Clairmont merging into eastbound Hunter, which in turn goes to the light to turn left onto Victoria (crap, I should just draw a diagram).

4) Find out who's responsible for Hunter/Clairmont and have him shot. I mean god dammit, what the heck is that. I once walked down Victoria to go to the Central Memorial rec centre... that was really, really confusing.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By JustinJones (registered) - website | Posted March 28, 2014 at 13:39:54

But it's our competitive advantage!

Permalink | Context

By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted March 28, 2014 at 13:51:54 in reply to Comment 99314

Permalink | Context

By citizensue (registered) | Posted March 30, 2014 at 18:46:27 in reply to Comment 99315

Fustercluck.....EXCELLENT!!!

Permalink | Context

By JustinJones (registered) - website | Posted March 28, 2014 at 14:37:02 in reply to Comment 99315

Oh I had forgotten about that article. A gem.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted March 28, 2014 at 14:17:39

Queen should be 2-way. Herkimer should be 2-way as well. But even failing that:

their intersection shouldn't be a highway-style slip-road inside a city. But even failing that:

There are undoubtably ways to secure this intersection without tearing it up and rearranging traffic. Arranging crossings in such a fashion they're visible to on-coming traffic, and putting up signage marking the crossing and the pedestrian's right-of-way.

And the city has done none of this. You see highway-ramp-style slip-roads all over the city, and where they do have a crosswalk the crosswalk is often halfway around a corner so the driver can't even see a pedestrian in the crossing. They're marked with a yield sign, but drivers don't see yield signs as "yield to pedestrians" since they're primarily used to mark places where you're merging with other car-traffic.

Permalink | Context

By Rimshot (anonymous) | Posted March 28, 2014 at 17:59:14 in reply to Comment 99317

At least they tamed wild and unruly Locke South.

Permalink | Context

By Tybalt (registered) | Posted March 28, 2014 at 16:34:02 in reply to Comment 99317

Oh, don't get me started on "yield to pedestrians". Another death trap in this line is the 403 on-ramp by Columbia College at Main St. West, where cars doing 70 or 80 along the Main St. Expressway frequently whip around the slip-road without even looking at the pedestrians trying to cross, despite the well-marked YIELD TO PEDESTRIANS sign right there.

Someone's gonna get killed there. Soon.

Permalink | Context

By Sara (registered) | Posted March 31, 2014 at 00:11:24 in reply to Comment 99331

It is such a shame on previous city planners that they allowed a high school campus to be built on either side of high way entrance and exit ramp. It's only because they don't have the fortune of their parents living in Hamilton that there hasn't been more outrage about that.

Permalink | Context

By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted March 31, 2014 at 08:32:37 in reply to Comment 99451

It could've been a normal intersection anyways - drivers could still right-on-red, they just have to stop at the red first. That redundant ramp-turn is the problem, one that exists throughout the city.

Permalink | Context

By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted March 31, 2014 at 07:10:27 in reply to Comment 99451

I'm not sure that parental outrage would have made a difference. The city doesn't seem motivated to do anything about the two-lane, highway-style on-ramp from Paradise Road onto Main Street West that wraps around Westdale Secondary. A Westdale teacher was once killed trying to cross that racetrack.

Comment edited by administrator Ryan on 2014-03-31 08:33:49

Permalink | Context

By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted March 28, 2014 at 20:45:16 in reply to Comment 99331

Comments with a score below -5 are hidden by default.

You can change or disable this comment score threshold by registering an RTH user account.

Permalink | Context

By Tybalt (registered) | Posted March 29, 2014 at 13:27:02 in reply to Comment 99351

Troll, sure. Whatever floats your boat.

I've seen it all the time; I used to use that crossing daily because I commuted to Toronto and would be dropped off the bus home at Columbia College there. (I live on Haddon Ave.) Now, it's more like once a week.

I can assure you, the traffic WHIPS along that section of the road, and cars failing to yield are extremely frequent. I would say that it's 50/50 whether a car will let you cross the slip-road is you are waiting in the pedestrian island.

In fact, as far as Main West literally today I was walking with my kids home from Churchill Park and we crossed Main Street West at Haddon. My older son (who is 10) looked at me while we waited for the light and said "I hate this street. It's too noisy. The cars go by too fast."

And yes, I'm on that road quite literally every day.

Permalink | Context

By Noted (anonymous) | Posted March 29, 2014 at 08:28:54 in reply to Comment 99351

Yardstick? HSR avg is 18.7.

Specific avgs:

Mac > CC = 20-30
CC > Mac klin: sub 20
Mac klin > Dun durn: 20-30
Dun durn > Ott awa: sub 20
Ott awa > Na sh: 20-30

Permalink | Context

By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted March 29, 2014 at 17:27:16 in reply to Comment 99374

Is that average cruising speed or distance divided by time? Buses make frequent stops to let passengers on and off, after all.

Permalink | Context

By Noted (anonymous) | Posted March 30, 2014 at 11:08:39 in reply to Comment 99398

Ranges are derived from IBI Group's 2010 Operational Review of the HSR, Exhibit 3-7.

"The average speed was calculated using the recorded time and distance between two stops to obtain the average speed for vehicles approaching each stop. The speed for each road segment was the average of all stops along that road segment. The HSR's acquisition of a new AVL GPS-based system will be available in the future for a more detailed analysis of average speed... Overall, HSR's average system speed is...below both the national average and HSR's peer group."

Permalink | Context

By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted March 30, 2014 at 11:42:21 in reply to Comment 99428

So the average speed includes acceleration and deceleration?

Permalink | Context

By Noted (anonymous) | Posted March 31, 2014 at 13:30:39 in reply to Comment 99430

I think that's how it would work.

Presented as-is. Not vouching for IBI's methodology. (Flawed data may ultimately be no better than expert anecdote.)

Permalink | Context

By jason (registered) | Posted March 28, 2014 at 22:31:51 in reply to Comment 99351

Every day since this woman was hit on Queen I've payed attention to people around me on Main, King, Wilson, Cannon, Wellington. When I'm doing 55km, they are flying by me like I'm standing still. One day I was the slowpoke on Main doing just over 55. People were honking, yelling etc..... I slowed to 50 at that point.

Permalink | Context

By Noted (anonymous) | Posted March 29, 2014 at 08:34:51 in reply to Comment 99355

Understand the impulse to slow, but relative to context, slower can also be dangerous.

Take care out there.

Permalink | Context

By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted March 28, 2014 at 23:41:04 in reply to Comment 99355

Comments with a score below -5 are hidden by default.

You can change or disable this comment score threshold by registering an RTH user account.

Permalink | Context

By kevlahan (registered) | Posted March 29, 2014 at 11:21:12 in reply to Comment 99365

The 2002 Durand Traffic study included data measured by City traffic engineers that showed that 200 vehicles per day exceeded 65 km/h on the minor arterial streets like Herkimer, Charlton and Bay.

65 km/h and higher are literally deadly speeds for pedestrians, especially in densely populated neighbourhoods with lots of children, seniors and other pedestrians like the Durand. These high speeds make collisions with pedestrians, especially young and elderly pedestrians more likely, since reaction times are much less both for the driver and pedestrian judging a safe "gap" in traffic to cross. In the event of a collision, the pedestrian is almost certain to die or be very seriously injured. This is unacceptable and the streets must be engineered to make speeds above the 30 or 40 km/h uncomfortable for motorists. Engineers know how to do this safely; we just have tell them to get on with it.

If over 200 vehicles per day exceed 65 km/h on residential streets, it is pretty obvious that their will be far more vehicles exceeding 65 or 70 on much wider streets like Main, Queen and King with widely spaced lights.

Comment edited by kevlahan on 2014-03-29 11:23:45

Permalink | Context

By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted March 29, 2014 at 20:02:50 in reply to Comment 99382

200 vehicles per day exceeded 65 km/h on the minor arterial streets like Herkimer, Charlton and Bay.

200 out of how many vehicles? What was the overall average speed? What about the speed of those doing the limit or less? The aveage of those doing only above the posted limit?

I live on Charlton. People speed regularly, sure. They also don't stop at stop signs, honk at me when walking the dog and crossing the street in a crosswalk, start driving before I've crossed the street, and so on. Where does the madness stop???

Permalink | Context

By kevlahan (registered) | Posted March 30, 2014 at 09:06:34 in reply to Comment 99404

As far as safety is concerned it is the absolute number exceeding the limit by a large margin that is the danger. Even one car going 100kmh on a street like Herkimer would be a huge risk, even if 15000 other cars were under the limit!

The goal is to minimize the maximum risk, not ensure that the 'average' driver doesn't speed. And 50kmh is the default maximum for all city streets regardless of design, except in school zones. It is obviously a dangerous speed on many roads in many conditions.

I'll assume that your question about percentages is in good faith: the city data showed that 40% of drivers exceeded 50kmh on the minor arterials and 200 per day exceeded 65 kmh. This is just unacceptably dangerous, especially as 50 is already far too fast. Unfortunately, the full report is only available on paper.

The way to change this is well-known and proven all over the developed world and has been explained ad nauseam on this very site:

  1. Change the road design to make it uncomfortable to drive faster than 30kmh. Tools include 2-way conversion (no possibility of passing), narrow lanes, chicanes, bump outs at intersections, speed humps, frequent pedestrian crossings where drivers must yield.

  2. Lower the legal speed limit to 30kmh, and have an enforcement blitz when the change is made.

This really works. We just have to want to do it.

Enforcement on a road that is clearly designed to drive fast with minimal 'obstructions' (like oncoming traffic, crossing pedestrians or parking), in a city with a culture of 'cars first' where everyone believes they have a right to drive 10kmh over the limit if they feel comfortable doing it will not work.

Comment edited by kevlahan on 2014-03-30 09:33:02

Permalink | Context

By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted March 30, 2014 at 11:43:58 in reply to Comment 99425

except in school zones

And we must note that many schools in Hamilton, especially in the lower city, aren't even identified as school zones. Of course, if we wait a couple of years I guess the HWDSB will take care of that oversight in its own way.

Permalink | Context

By KevinLove (registered) | Posted March 29, 2014 at 15:18:11 in reply to Comment 99382

I live in Durand, on Park and Herkimer kitty-corner to the park. The traffic light at Herkimer and James can be seen all the way as far west as Durand Park.

What I see every day is car drivers on Herkimer see the light turn green at James and recklessly and negligently drive at speeds up to 80 km/hr to "beat the light."

The cure is simple. Security bollards to make Herkimer and all other residential streets NOT through routes for car drivers, but only for walking, cycling and public transit.

Comment edited by KevinLove on 2014-03-29 15:18:40

Permalink | Context

By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted March 29, 2014 at 20:04:19 in reply to Comment 99390

My wife used to live on Herkimer, at Park, before we were married. She lived there for a year, back in 2009.

We used to see all sorts of shenanigans on Herkimer. We also saw them on James, Bay, Park, Macnab, all the side streets. What's your point? Is it that we have poor enforcement of our road rules?

Permalink | Context

By DissenterOfThings (registered) | Posted March 31, 2014 at 11:48:49 in reply to Comment 99405

What is your point? You seemed to be starting an argument for what end I can only begin to fathom. Do you think it's a great thing that pedestrians are being killed and injured in Hamilton? Do you think careless and high speed driving are good things? Are you just a sociopath like most trolls?

Comment edited by DissenterOfThings on 2014-03-31 11:49:07

Permalink | Context

By jason (registered) | Posted March 29, 2014 at 21:52:34 in reply to Comment 99405

No. That our streets are engineered to encourage high speed shenanigans. I take it you've never traveled beyond Burlington based on all your comments on RTH. In real cities, it's physically impossible to drive 60-70k through old, urban residential neighbourhoods, school zones, parks etc....

There's a reason Vancouver wins awards as one of the most livable cities on earth:

http://spacing.ca/toronto/2007/08/17/van...

And there's a reason Hamilton doesn't. No parking allowed 24-7 with lanes between 15-20 feet wide in a residential hood next to a park:

https://goo.gl/maps/lsQBF

Comment edited by jason on 2014-03-29 21:54:05

Permalink | Context

By growup (anonymous) | Posted March 29, 2014 at 20:15:01 in reply to Comment 99405

Your bullshit is tedious and childish. Grow the hell up.

Permalink | Context

By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted March 30, 2014 at 13:35:54 in reply to Comment 99407

And your immature profanity that doesn't add anything either. It's unneeded. Perhaps you should heed your own advice?

Point is, the vocal minority preaching to each other about how stuff has to change, will never do anything to enact change. I long for the day where the crew at RTH get off their collective duffs and actually run for office, or get some change happening. It's great to wax poetic about all the wasted potential, the 'what ifs' and the like, but it's just a bunch of talk. Talk is cheap. Do something about it already, or go away!

This, coming from someone under 40, who lives downtown, walks downtown, commutes by car, carpool, and transit, and is of the opinion of the majority of the city.

Permalink | Context

By kevlahan (registered) | Posted March 30, 2014 at 16:37:02 in reply to Comment 99440

Most people here are doing practical things to make things better! Discussing options for change is part of that. The councillors of Wards 1 and ward 2 (where you apparently live) strongly support these efforts, and they were elected on a progressive platform that supports exactly the sort of thing that is promoted on RTH.

Yes We Cannon, Hamilton Light Rail, Your City Your Future are all public campaigns to effect change driven by people associated with RTH.

Many regular contributors are members of Neighbourhood Associations that have effected real change, have been involved in Participatory Budgetting in Wards 1 and 2 and have bought and restored buildings, and started and invested in local businesses.

There are only 15 councillors and a Mayor for a city of 520 000. Are those the only people who you consider contribute to the city?

Mr anonymous squelcher, when are you actually going to reveal who you even are and start doing something, anything, instead of just sniping and baiting those who actually are?

You comment an awful lot on RTH ... when are you running? Since you magically have an inside track on what is in the mind of the majority of residents, you should do awfully well!

Maybe you should take your own advice and just keep quiet.

Or maybe, the mysterious you was actually a failed candidate in the last election and this is all sour grapes.

It is rather strange that you spend so much time commenting (thousands of comments!) on a forum you think is a waste of everyone's time ... I guess you have a lot of time to waste, or you're intentionally wasting everyone's time for the lulz.

Start telling us what you've actually done ... or keep your "helpful advice" about running for office to yourself!

Comment edited by kevlahan on 2014-03-30 16:47:48

Permalink | Context

By KevinLove (registered) | Posted March 31, 2014 at 21:10:35 in reply to Comment 99444

One of the authors at RTH is my ward councillor, Jason Farr. See:

http://www.raisethehammer.org/authors/29...

Permalink | Context

By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted March 29, 2014 at 17:43:45 in reply to Comment 99390

By chance I was heading up Herkimer past Durand Park late this afternoon and saw that someone had set up a speed radar with a digital readout. I stopped and watched it for just a couple of minutes but it only took that long to see someone speeding:

Car speeding past Durand Park

Again, I didn't have to stand around waiting for this. I'm sure if I had waited for a while, my patience would have been rewarded with some much higher speeds. (I'm going to try and find out who put the radar there and whether I can get a record of all the speeds it measured.)

Even a legal speed of 50 km/h past a park is already ridiculous, but exceeding that speed puts the automobile into the range of speeds in which a pedestrian struck in a collision is overwhelmingly likely to die.

Comment edited by administrator Ryan on 2014-03-29 17:47:45

Permalink | Context

By kevlahan (registered) | Posted March 30, 2014 at 08:57:05 in reply to Comment 99400

The DNA requested that visible speed indicator, and Councillor Farr helped us get it.

Apparently there are only about two of them for the entire city, and they are in huge demand, so there is a waiting list to have one set up.

50 kmh is already far too fast for a residential street next to a park with a playground. In Vancouver, that location, next to a playground would have a 30kmh speed limit.

There have been multiple high speed accidents that have literally impacted the park. One ended with a car up on top of the berm at the corner of Park and Charlton!

Remember that this is a location where kids play soccer and catch ... there is a good chance of a child chasing a ball out onto the street.

Permalink | Context

By DBC (registered) | Posted March 30, 2014 at 09:45:24 in reply to Comment 99424

We had a pick-up truck on our front lawn after an accident on Herkimer.........we get honked at when we have the nerve to slow to pull in to our driveway......

It's long past time for us to "push back" against all those who would never accept this garbage design where they live.

Permalink | Context

By mikeonthemountain (registered) | Posted March 30, 2014 at 11:48:41 in reply to Comment 99427

Try backing out onto Mohawk Road during busy periods, some barbarians can't even take their foot off the gas for a second to give someone a residue of patience, I hear so many horn honks caused by someone accessing their driveway.

Comment edited by mikeonthemountain on 2014-03-30 11:53:39

Permalink | Context

By mikeonthemountain (registered) | Posted March 30, 2014 at 00:16:35 in reply to Comment 99400

If you reached that speed on inner residential side streets in UK cities, you'd leave parts of your car behind on the speed cushions. You would physically be unable to go that fast.

Permalink | Context

By Fred (registered) | Posted July 24, 2014 at 03:02:06 in reply to Comment 99421

Yeh, you can ignore those flashing speed signs, but try ignoring a speed cushion!

Permalink | Context

By KevinLove (registered) | Posted March 29, 2014 at 21:51:37 in reply to Comment 99400

Notice the location. Right next to the skating rink in the park. Where children were skating all winter long.

And yes, as soon as the light at James turned green, the car drivers would commit criminal negligence in endangering the lives of innocent children by blasting along at up to 80 km/hr.

The solution is simple: security bollards to eliminating cut-through rat-running car drivers.

There is an excellent video here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H2Xn7y5DL...

You can see the bollards stop a truck travelling at 80 km/hr. That is what I want for the safety of myself and my children.

Permalink | Context

By Fred Street (anonymous) | Posted March 29, 2014 at 11:46:42 in reply to Comment 99382

Crazy that next to nothing has been done about Herkimer, Charlton and Bay for the last 12 years. Or that Durand is saturated with one-way streets, for that matter.

What are the most recent studies on vehicular speed and traffic volume? 2002 numbers are a great starting point but I suspect that the city has changed in many ways since then.

Permalink | Context

By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted March 29, 2014 at 17:32:30 in reply to Comment 99383

Daily traffic volumes have fallen in every lower city location for which we have comparative data between 1999 and 2009-2010.

Permalink | Context

By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted March 29, 2014 at 11:55:29 in reply to Comment 99383

Honestly, I think there'd be very little resistance to converting all the streets interior to Durand and Kirkendall to two-way... the people driving through Hamilton aren't ducking into Charlton or anything like that.

Probably the only reason it hasn't happened already is the cost of conversion. I've been meaning to actually do a street-by-street check to see which ones don't have any traffic lights... after all, if a street has no lights against it, then the total cost of conversion is lines and signs. I doubt there would be much resistence in getting all those "low-hanging fruit" converted.

I tried to see if I could do it automatically, but unfortunately OpenStreetMap's inventory of Hamilton's traffic lights is incomplete, and traffic lights aren't part of Hamilton's open data sets.

Permalink | Context

By kevlahan (registered) | Posted March 29, 2014 at 12:15:00 in reply to Comment 99385

The cost of two-way conversion should be very low. The total cost of the two-way conversions of both Caroline and Hess between Main and Herkimer was only $72 000 in 2002. That works out to only about $5000 per block! And there were four intersections with lights.

Note that the Ministry of Transportation minimum recommended width for a two-way street is 8.5m between the sidewalks.

Finally, note that in 2003 the Ministry ruled that an Environmental Assessment was not required for these conversions.

Comment edited by kevlahan on 2014-03-29 12:16:28

Permalink | Context

By kevlahan (registered) | Posted March 29, 2014 at 11:55:21 in reply to Comment 99383

The DNA is working with the City on a new wave of improvements for pedestrians, which will involve traffic calming and more pedestrian crossing points. The DNA also strongly supports 2-way conversion. One possibility under study by the City is a paired two-way conversion of Bay and Queen. Charlton will also see a cycle lane, which will provide an additional buffer for pedstrians as well as improving conditions for cyclists.

The participatory budget process approved a pedestrian operated traffic light at MacNab and Hunter, adjacent to the YWCA and the pedstrian underpass.

I'm not sure that there is more recent data, but overall declining traffic volumes in the lower city suggest that top speeds could be even higher. Certainly, pedestrian injuries and deaths have not declined in Hamilton.

I believe there was an effort to use new aerial observation technology to get a better picture of overall traffic volume and speeds in Wards 1 and 2.

Comment edited by kevlahan on 2014-03-29 11:56:15

Permalink | Context

By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted March 29, 2014 at 14:18:03 in reply to Comment 99384

As much as i love bike lanes, it seems like solving the wrong problem. I can't believe that Charlton and Herkimer at the like get enough traffic to justify their 1-way nature. Any trip that's far enough to justify a 1-way street is worth just driving out to the overbuilt King and Main streets, and trips within Durand/Kirkendall absolutely do not need a 1-way street to shave off a few seconds from a 2-kilometer drive.

2-way charlton/herkimer/etc might just be slow-enough thanks to their 2-way nature that bikes would be comfortable without an explicit bike lane.

Comment edited by Pxtl on 2014-03-29 14:20:15

Permalink | Context

By kevlahan (registered) | Posted March 29, 2014 at 15:19:24 in reply to Comment 99389

That's an excellent point.

I would in fact prefer two-way conversion to a bike lane, but the community has never been given the choice. The message, until very recently (if even now), has been that Charlton and Herkimer and Bay and Queen MUST remain one-way.

At the Kirkendall traffic plan PIC a few years ago I specifically asked one of the engineers why there was no two-way alternative presented for Queen. Amazingly, he told me that it would be impossible 'because the east-west roads are offset'. Obviously, it is not impossible because other streets, like James, have offsets, and, more importantly Queen was 2-way until 1957!

Having two better alternative (cycle lane or two-way conversion) gives us some choice. It is not obvious, but as a daily cyclist living on Charlton I would definitely prefer two-way conversion.

There is still no installation date for the bike lane ... maybe we should now be comparing both alternatives to one-way with no bike lane. If the City will let us!

Comment edited by kevlahan on 2014-03-29 15:21:30

Permalink | Context

By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted March 29, 2014 at 23:01:36 in reply to Comment 99391

At the Kirkendall traffic plan PIC a few years ago I specifically asked one of the engineers why there was no two-way alternative presented for Queen. Amazingly, he told me that it would be impossible 'because the east-west roads are offset'.

Treating Bay and Queen as an offset pair is a sign of something pathological. This "paired streets" mentality is an obsession that is orphaned from its original purpose - there are no significant destinations that you arrive at using Bay and return from using Queen. The streets are completely unrelated. Queen connects Cannon traffic to Main (completing the Westbound high-speed truck route corridor) and takes traffic up to Beckett Drive. Bay does none of these things. The only thing Bay does is quickly eject people from City Hall onto York Boulevard and out of the city.

And if the problem with converting Herkimer and Charlton is that they're an offset pair, well the solution there is pretty blindingly obvious: convert them both. Boom, you've maintained your obsessive balance.

Permalink | Context

By KevinLove (registered) | Posted March 29, 2014 at 16:03:53 in reply to Comment 99391

I live near Park and Herkimer kitty-corner to Durand Park. I have no objection to one-way streets in Durand, provided there is a counterflow lane for cyclists. Like on Markland.

What I strongly object to is residential streets being cut-through routes for car drivers. Security bollards can easily prevent this, restricting through traffic to walking, cycling and public transit.

Permalink | Context

By jason (registered) | Posted March 29, 2014 at 08:34:36 in reply to Comment 99365

feel free to go back and read my post. I was driving 55k and people were flying past me like I was standing still. Surely you know what the speed limit is. All hours of the rush hour, aft and evening.

Permalink | Context

By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted March 29, 2014 at 20:05:19 in reply to Comment 99375

Thanks for making my point. Appreciate it :)

Permalink | Context

By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted March 28, 2014 at 17:48:22 in reply to Comment 99331

I find a lot of drivers are very respectful at that crossing. Probably 90% of drivers let the little mobs of students at Columbia cross just fine. But obviously, with that much traffic, it only takes a small percentage of aggressive drivers to make a crossing feel unsafe.

I'd wager it would be even worse without the sign.

Comment edited by Pxtl on 2014-03-28 17:48:36

Permalink | Context

By kevlahan (registered) | Posted March 28, 2014 at 14:49:56 in reply to Comment 99317

In fact City Hall itself has an entirely unnecessary triple entrance design (complete with paired in and out highway style slip roads onto Bay and two-way straight in/out lanes towards Jackson) to access their parking lot.

https://www.google.ca/maps/place/Hamilton,+ON/@43.2556242,-79.874895,229m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m2!3m1!1s0x882c986c27de778f:0x2b6aee56d8df0e21

And this is just half a block north of Central Elementary School in the most densely populated and pedestrian filled areas in the City.

This ludicrous auto-centric over-engineering from the 50s should be pulled out immediately and replaced with a simple right angle entry exit design: i.e. just keep the central portion!

The slip-road in/out design makes it difficult for pedestrians to cross by encouraging high speed turns, and means pedestrians have are on the road way over twice as long and must traverse three separate roads instead of just one.

It also encourages road rage. Last year after dropping my kids off at Central I saw a woman in a car screaming that she was "going to run over" a man walking his dog because he had the temerity to walk, rather than jog across the entry slip-road, and was slowing the driver down.

This design makes drivers feel annoyed by pedestrians who get in their way and slow them down. After all, the intersection is design to allow high speed, fluid turns into and out of the parking lot. The intersection design should be slowing them down, not the pedestrians!

Comment edited by kevlahan on 2014-03-28 14:54:57

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By jason (registered) | Posted March 28, 2014 at 14:32:46

FYI, the lane at Hunter is still closed. And there's still been exactly zero backups because of it.

As I walked past Queen two days ago and saw the blood on the street, I thought to myself "how can anyone at city hall say that these dangerous freeways are our 'number one competitive advantage over Toronto'???"

I heard those words with my own ears last fall at city hall from a councillor. Of course, the councillor in question lives in a suburb with speed humps, road diets, bike lanes and complete streets......

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Tybalt (registered) | Posted March 28, 2014 at 16:32:09

I posted a comment in Adrian's blog entry on my previous experiences living in the area and the extreme discomfort for walking in the area.

But as I was writing it, it occurred to me that my hatred of these streets has had another effect. I live in Ainslie Wood, and my office is downtown at Main and Hughson.

Now on a few occasions since moving to that office last August, I have cycled to work. My fastest route is to take the new segment of the rail trail to Studholme, and then down to Aberdeen or Herkimer to come across.

But getting across Queen is, often, really scary for a cyclist. And more than once I have thought about cycling, and then thought about getting through that area (and then again about getting down to Jackson St.) and thought... I'll take the bus.

We need safer networks!

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By movedtohamilton (registered) | Posted March 28, 2014 at 16:37:37

I've made joking comments to friends and family about the fetish of the car in Hamilton. But there's no humour in pedestrian injuries and fatalities.

It seems like large segment of Hamilton's population is still stuck in a mindset from the 1950s-60s-70s. A time when the economy was booming, the car was king. These folks literally don't want anything to change, in terms of roads/streets, despite the massive change in the circumstances of the city. This unyielding, myopic view is truly unbelievable.

"The competitive advantage"? Does Hamilton have any? One? Toronto's advantage is easily seen in its high-density residential downtown core; it's booming digital industry; its thriving arts/culture, to name a few. Hamilton's Main Street Freeway isn't an advantage.

Permalink | Context

By jason (registered) | Posted March 28, 2014 at 22:33:36 in reply to Comment 99332

I have friends who work at city hall. They actually had some residents calling, livid when bumpouts and bollards were installed at Gage/Maplewood and the Delta. Yes, people taking time to pick up the phone and complain because now they only have 1 lane to run everyone down in, instead of two.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By drive thru everything (anonymous) | Posted March 28, 2014 at 17:03:47

obviously the easiest solution is to ban pedestrians FOR THEIR OWN GOOD

Permalink | Context

By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted March 28, 2014 at 18:20:46 in reply to Comment 99338

Amazingly, we're doing that, too:

King and Dundurn

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By KevinLove (registered) | Posted March 28, 2014 at 22:53:26

The fundamental problem is that residential streets should not be through routes for car drivers. Cut-through "rat-running" car driving has been almost entirely eliminated from all residential streets in The Netherlands. The exact same traffic improvements can be implemented here. For details, see:

http://www.aviewfromthecyclepath.com/201...

An excerpt:

"Residential streets in the Netherlands rarely work as through roads for cars, even if they were originally designed to do so. This makes them excellent places to cycle or walk with a high degree of comfort and safety."

Comment edited by KevinLove on 2014-03-28 22:54:56

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By movedtohamilton (registered) | Posted March 28, 2014 at 22:55:34

"It also encourages road rage. Last year after dropping my kids off at Central I saw a woman in a car screaming that she was "going to run over" a man walking his dog because he had the temerity to walk, rather than jog across the entry slip-road, and was slowing the driver down. "

I rest my case. Are there people in Hamilton who have any life experience beyond living here? Or is urban life here really just 9th century life, with mobile devices?

"Pedestrian crossings prohibited." The three words which sum up the CONTEMPT for modern urban life, an emotion so deeply held by too many residents of this city.

Permalink | Context

By mikeonthemountain (registered) | Posted March 29, 2014 at 07:52:19 in reply to Comment 99364

Or is urban life here really just 9th century life, with mobile devices?

Yes. While Roman roads were not as highly controlled as the number of traffic rules and signs that control our roads today, variations of the same human nature scenarios must have played out.

A successful but arrogant Roman citizen tearing up the street on his gold plated chariot, knocks over the stall owner and leaves him with crushed bones. In 9th century Europe. But this is not universal. Some areas have great culture and people are conditioned for mutual respect, not rage.

What is strange is most road rage nuts are likely well behaved in most any other context.

^ Disney rules. 4:54 "Fools step in where angels fear to tread" that is hilarious! too appropriate.

Comment edited by mikeonthemountain on 2014-03-29 08:02:10

Permalink | Context

By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted March 29, 2014 at 13:35:24 in reply to Comment 99373

I think his reference to the 9th century was about serfs being bound to the land and never traveling or living away from the place they were born.

Hamilton looks normal if you were born here, but looks crazy if you've lived elsewhere. I was born here, but I've at least traveled enough to notice that successful, pleasant places just don't look like that.

Permalink | Context

By movedtohamilton (registered) | Posted March 30, 2014 at 12:55:10 in reply to Comment 99388

Thanks, Pxtl. That's exactly what I meant.

Permalink | Context

By mikeonthemountain (registered) | Posted March 29, 2014 at 23:55:28 in reply to Comment 99388

Hamilton looks normal if you were born here, but looks crazy if you've lived elsewhere.

The videos of, and riding in NL, always makes me insanely jealous, but that's altogether a cut above. So let's contrast an English speaking nation where cyclists wear helmets because motor culture is pretty dominant.

Exploring Nottingham UK on foot. Stand at one of the plentiful uncontrolled courtesy crossings, and cars immediately stop to let you cross. It was unsettling. I was prepared to wait for a gap in the traffic like an obedient pedestrian. I'm inconveniencing these nice people who I brought to a stop by wanting to cross! So I cross with an efficient brisk walk and give a little wave thanks, surprised and caught off guard at the civility.

Later on wifi at the hotel I check the Spec and RTH to see what's going on back home. Yes, I don't exaggerate, struck pedestrians were headlines on the spec and topic of discussion here on RTH. There is no excuse, there is a bit of cultural sickness, but the cure includes balanced people speaking up and saying 'hey this isn't right', and that's starting to happen, finally.

Comment edited by mikeonthemountain on 2014-03-29 23:58:05

Permalink | Context

By KevinLove (registered) | Posted March 29, 2014 at 22:03:22 in reply to Comment 99388

Yes, very true. Successful pleasant places look like this:

http://bicycledutch.wordpress.com/2011/1...

Or like this. I advise skipping the first 1:15 of someone telling you what you are going to see, and go straight to seeing it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iaz_T89wJ...

Or like this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=34FyWCutq...

Or like this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2rETLfzQr...

Comment edited by KevinLove on 2014-03-29 22:17:06

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By DavidColacci (registered) | Posted March 29, 2014 at 22:59:23

I agree wholeheartedly with the article and with many observations above.

Short of writing Councillors, who seem to effectively only pay lip service to such principles as pedestrian safety, WHAT CAN WE DO TO MOVE THESE THINGS FORWARD?

Someone please tell me, this is so frustrating.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Noted (anonymous) | Posted March 30, 2014 at 11:54:26

John Street CLOSED Young to Hunter. Pedestrian struck just after midnight. Taken to General. Police awaiting update on condition. #YHMnews

twitter.com/JoeyColeman/status/450151731213926400

Permalink | Context

By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted March 30, 2014 at 13:42:18 in reply to Comment 99433

And that was on a stretch of 2-way street!

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By mikeonthemountain (registered) | Posted March 30, 2014 at 12:00:49

So it looks like our collective concerns were taken as a challenge to get a new high score? Two more since this thread started?

(links are quota metered spec articles)

MainW+Thorndale : young lady hit by car turning onto Thorndale

York+John : young man hit by car that failed to yield to pedestrian

It looks like drivers simply aren't watching where they're going. Awesome.

Comment edited by mikeonthemountain on 2014-03-30 12:10:51

Permalink | Context

By jason (registered) | Posted March 31, 2014 at 14:41:34 in reply to Comment 99435

don't worry. They'll get their $50 slap on the wrist and be right back out there barrelling around and honking at anyone in their way.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By positive1@cogeco.ca (registered) | Posted March 30, 2014 at 22:19:06

Just to assure any doubters that Queen & Herkimer really is a problem, and has been for many years, know that my sister-in-law was struck as a young child coming home from St. Joseph's Elementary School - back i the early '70s !!, She survived but sustained significant head injuries at the time.

Would a pedestrian activated light work there stopping northbound, southbound and eastbound traffic?

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By sueyourcity (anonymous) | Posted March 31, 2014 at 08:10:35

Enough already. We need to file a class action law suit.

Permalink | Context

By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted March 31, 2014 at 14:55:59 in reply to Comment 99458

In Ontario, you can literally drive right into an 87-year-old woman shuffling across the street in front of you and admit you didn't notice her until you hit her, and you won't be found guilty of careless driving.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By JayRobb (registered) | Posted March 31, 2014 at 09:24:19

As a parent with kids who walk to school, I'n all for making our city streets safer. One pedestrian getting hit by a car anywhere in Hamilton is one accident too many.

Suspect we'll find city-wide support for a zero goal. And the measures needed to get there.

Empathy's not limited to folks in the core. There are parents and grandparents in the suburbs who understand that nothing is more important than the safety and wellbeing of everyone's kids.

Queen Street is failing all of us - pedestrians, cyclists and motorists. Doubt there's anyone who rolls out of bed in the morning and says today I really hope to get behind the wheel and hit and hurt a pedestrian or cyclist.

The best advocates for complete streets are kids. Have the kids who live near and cross Queen Street remind us to slow down, pay attention and join them in advocating for a safer street. Make it a very personal appeal for change.

And we could really use some north-south traffic and transit solutions. How many commuters driving down and up the Queen Street Hill would take the 403 if weren't jammed?

Permalink | Context

By jason (registered) | Posted March 31, 2014 at 14:40:48 in reply to Comment 99462

Very well said.

Permalink | Context

By KevinLove (registered) | Posted March 31, 2014 at 12:57:09 in reply to Comment 99462

I agree. The best advocates for improvement are children. Take a look at this video of what children in Amsterdam did in 1972. The improvements they made are benefiting their children and grandchildren.

Although we are two generations behind, we can inspire our children to do the same. See:

http://bicycledutch.wordpress.com/2013/1...

Permalink | Context

View Comments: Nested | Flat

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to comment.

Events Calendar

Recent Articles

Article Archives

Blog Archives

Site Tools

Feeds